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Inspector

Funny vs. Not Funny

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I've heard someone new to the forum comment that people here don't have a good sense of humor. (Sorry, but I forget who exactly) Now obviously anyone who sticks around long enough will see that many of us have quite good senses of humor.

But there was a legitimate observation that Objectivists do not find certain things funny, and newbies might find this perplexing. I just so happened upon a relevant quote from The Romantic Manifesto that should explain why we find certain jokes to be in BAD taste; NOT funny at all.

Observe that in the issue of [humor], modern intellectuals are using the term "humor" as an anti-concept, i.e. as a "package-deal" of two meanings, with the proper meaning serving to cover and to smuggle the improper one into people's minds. The purpose is to obliterate the distinction between "humor" and "mockery," particularly self-mockery -- and thus bring men to defile their own values and self-esteem, for fear of being accused of lacking "a sense of humor."

Remember that humor is not an unconditional virtue and depends on its object. One may laugh with a hero, but never at him...

Jokes that mock Objectivism, reason, Ayn Rand, or any of our values are NOT funny. So don't even try them here.

Of course, jokes that mock irrationality, Kant, or vices can be quite funny, if done well.

For instance, the other day I was discussing the so-called "father of psychology" with my sister. She accidentally referred to him as "fraud." Which was itself a "Freudian slip." Or would that be "Fraudian slip?" :dough:

Ahh, good times.

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For instance, the other day I was discussing the so-called "father of psychology" with my sister. She accidentally referred to him as "fraud." Which was itself a "Freudian slip." Or would that be "Fraudian slip?"  :dough:

Ahh, good times.

That is funny!

Author Scott Adams (Dilbert) avers that successful humor contains "two of six" elements; cuteness, meanness, cleverness, naughtiness, bizarreness, and recognizability. It was probably the best analysis of what actually makes something funny.

I think where people go wrong with Objectivists is in the "recognizability" factor . . . many things that a lot of people would identify with and evaluate as, "yeah, that's funny/stupid/annoying/whatever" an Objectivist will identify with the completely opposite evaluation, ruining the entire joke, and, depending on how egregious it was, possibly one's relationship with that Objectivist.

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I beleive I was the one who brought up humour.

I always thought humour had a different benifit aswell, it prevents us from being stuck to any particular idea by exposing ironies, contradictions, etc. By lightening the burden of any particular beleif by showing some opposing beleif we free ourselvesintellectually.

A lack of humour about one's beleifs and outright dogmatism are not always very far apart.

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I beleive I was the one who brought up humour.

I always thought humour had a different benifit aswell, it prevents us from being stuck to any particular idea by exposing ironies, contradictions, etc. By lightening the burden of any particular beleif by showing some opposing beleif we free ourselvesintellectually.

A lack of humour about one's beleifs and outright dogmatism are not always very far apart.

I know you're worried about Objectivism because all you've ever seen is dogmatism and twisted lies, but don't worry: Objectivism really is The Real Deal.

But think abstractly for a second: what if you had discovered Real Truth. The kind of idea that has NO contradictions, NO ironies, etc. The kind that imposes no burden at all. Such a thing would not need any mocking. The ideas opposed to it would deserve no sanction. Thus, mocking it would be Not Funny. That's why jokes that mock our values just aren't funny to us. They are only funny to you becaue your values have contradictions. Ours don't. (or at least Objectivism doesn't)

Believe me, I know what you're talking about and I've been there. Trust me, Objectivism is like nothing else. You're in for a wild ride: sit down, hang on, and have fun! (and never stop thinking!)

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Inspector - NO mistakes? NO ironies? I'll beleive it whenI see it. Then I'll put on my infared glasses and take another look.

Anyway, 'mock' is not really what I meant. Mocking implies malice, I mean simply to be open to new ideas be using humour to phrase them in your mind.

For example, if someone firmly beleives Iraq was about freedom and nothing else (you know, the boy scout type), you could say something like this - "So would we give them the oil aswell as freedom, or take the oil as their gift for liberation?" I wouldn't call that mocking, just an attempt at eye opening. Poeple will usually be more receptive to humour than anything else, so it can have a positive use in that way.

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There isn't much humor on this forum, and I wouldn't expect there to be. In fact, there is not much humor on the typical "Right-wing" and "Left-wing" political forums either. Neither is there much humor on the Cooking forums, Chess forums, etc.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Inspector - NO mistakes? NO ironies? I'll beleive it whenI see it. Then I'll put on my infared glasses and take another look.

You've got the right attitude already! :dough:

One of the virtues of Objectivism is independence of thought. Never, never, never take someone else's word for it.

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A lack of humour about one's beleifs and outright dogmatism are not always very far apart.

On que, this is an aspect of the anti-concept of humor that Inspector quoted. Why would you ever find your beliefs humorous? Do you mean to imply that regarding yourself as an object of humor as a good thing?

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There isn't much humor on this forum, and I wouldn't expect there to be. In fact, there is not much humor on the typical "Right-wing" and "Left-wing" political forums either. Neither is there much humor on the Cooking forums, Chess forums, etc.

Go to the somethingawful forums. Some the stuff there is pretty funny. Ironically, it's a comedy site :dough:

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Inspector - NO mistakes? NO ironies? I'll beleive it whenI see it. Then I'll put on my infared glasses and take another look.

Nope, none. And I encourage you to. Use a microscope, too, while you're at it. :dough:

As for your example, it is still an attack of sorts on the opposing idea. All humor is. The trick of humor is to mock something that deserves mockery.

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Author Scott Adams (Dilbert) avers that successful humor contains "two of six" elements; cuteness, meanness, cleverness, naughtiness, bizarreness, and recognizability.  It was probably the best analysis of what actually makes something funny.

Are you saying that his "analysis" of humor is superior to Ayn Rand's? If so, why?

Would you say, for example, that he has done a superior job of identifying the essential distinguishing characteristics of humor?

[For anyone new to Objectivism: The Ayn Rand Lexicon has two excerpts from Ayn Rand's comments under "Humor."]

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I've heard someone new to the forum comment that people here don't have a good sense of humor. (Sorry, but I forget who exactly) Now obviously anyone who sticks around long enough will see that many of us have quite good senses of humor.

But there was a legitimate observation that Objectivists do not find certain things funny, and newbies might find this perplexing. I just so happened upon a relevant quote from The Romantic Manifesto that should explain why we find certain jokes to be in BAD taste; NOT funny at all.

Jokes that mock Objectivism, reason, Ayn Rand, or any of our values are NOT funny. So don't even try them here.

Of course, jokes that mock irrationality, Kant, or vices can be quite funny, if done well.

For instance, the other day I was discussing the so-called "father of psychology" with my sister. She accidentally referred to him as "fraud." Which was itself a "Freudian slip." Or would that be "Fraudian slip?"  :D

Ahh, good times.

This is precisely what people mean when they say you do not have a sense of humor. Humor is the ability to make fun of something one has respect for. Generally jokes that are meant to insult something one loaths are not funny.

As an example...

Lawyers know all the best lawyer jokes because they have a respect for the law and the profession of being a lawyer.

No one does such a good job making fun of Judaism as the genuinely devout Jew.

The type of humor you are advocating is analogous to the racist making jokes about people of other ethnicities. It isn't terribly funny.

Lighten up.

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I think its funny(maybe witty's a better word) to see a rational person rip an irrational person's non-sense to pieces and do it with attitude, or "insensitivity" as I've seen it described in another thread. But that's just me. :D

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Lighten up.

Hah, someone told ME to lighten up! :D

The distinction you're not making is that the target of the humor is always some vice, some flaw. Objectivism does not have flaws. Of course, people trying to practice it do, which is why I've made vicious fun of you in the past, punk.

To simplify, humor is always properly targeted at vices, and never at virtues.

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I think its funny(maybe witty's a better word) to see a rational person rip an irrational person's non-sense to pieces and do it with attitude, or "insensitivity" as I've seen it described in another thread. But that's just me. ;)

Oh, my, yes! It's not just you at all. :D

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I think its funny(maybe witty's a better word) to see a rational person rip an irrational person's non-sense to pieces and do it with attitude, or "insensitivity" as I've seen it described in another thread. But that's just me. ;)

Definitely! These are the things my friends and I talk about at school that I find the funniest. I love that look on the irrational person's face, especially when accompanied by some incoherent stuttering. :D

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TThe type of humor you are advocating is analogous to the racist making jokes about people of other ethnicities.  It isn't terribly funny.

But it's perfectly ok for a person "of ethnicity" to tell the same racist jokes about themselves??

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The type of humor you are advocating is analogous to the racist making jokes about people of other ethnicities.  It isn't terribly funny.

Whoa, I just caught this. You couldn't be more wrong!

I am advocating the derision of VICES. Bad ideas are a vice. Being of a certain race is NOT a vice (or a choice).

What I am advocating is making fun of racism, not being a racist.

By making that analogy are you meaning to imply that Objectivism is "just another" ideology and that one ideology making fun of another is like one race making fun of another? That's how I'm taking it, and that interpretation does not speak well of your character, so I think you'd better clarify.

Objectivism is NOT "just another" ideology. It is true. If I was Plato, I'd spell that with a capital "T," that's how true it is. We have every right to make fun of false ideas. In fact, I submit it is our responsibility to do so!

Who's with me?!? :D;)B):lol:

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This is precisely what people mean when they say you do not have a sense of humor.

Does the "you" here refer only to Inspector or to Objectivists in general?

Humor is the ability to make fun of something one has respect for.
So, when Leftists tell jokes about President Bush, that is a sign of their respect for him?

Lawyers know all the best lawyer jokes because they have a respect for the law and the profession of being a lawyer.

Why would someone who holds the law and his profession as highest values choose to demean them?

Lighten up.

Is this an order?

Having seen this post -- whose theory of humor contradicts Ayn Rand's -- I wonder: With how much of Objectivism do you agree, Punk?

Edited by BurgessLau

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Nope, none. And I encourage you to. Use a microscope, too, while you're at it.  :(

As for your example, it is still an attack of sorts on the opposing idea. All humor is. The trick of humor is to mock something that deserves mockery.

Everything Deserves mockery, as there is no perfection.

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Inspector,

It is not non-Objectivist, or even false ideas as such that we love to laugh at. It is stupidity and evil in general. We laugh at those persons or actions too evil or stupid to deal with reality.

I have no problems deriding an Objectivist fool (and no, this is not necessarily a contradiction), and there are people who are not Objectivists, but do not merit derision.

[edited to add a few more typos]

Edited by erandror

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